Contemporary Architecture

Mario Botta – Wellness Centre

“Architecture is not born through program, but through a specific situation of space,”


Mario Botta was born on April 1, 1943 in Mendrisio, Ticino (Switzerland) .

  • 1958  – Drawing firm training in Carmen Ulrich
  • 1969 – He graduated from the Department of Architecture, University of Venice
  • 1970 – Opening with a partner in Lugano
  • 1971 – Design of the famous Saint Vital River residential, fame
  • 1976 – State University of Technology in Lausanne, was appointed Visiting Professor
  • 1969 – Begins his independent career, opening a studio in Lugano.
  • 1982/87 – Member of the Swiss Federal Commission of the Fine Arts.
  • 1985 – Wins the “Beton Architecture Prize”, Zurich (Switzerland).
  • 1986 – Awarded the “Chicago Architecture Award”
  • 1988 – Wins the “Grade de Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres(Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters )” prize, Paris ( France).
  • 1993 -Wins the “Marble Architectural Award” in Carrara (Italy)


  • Botta, the birthplace of Ticino  in the Mediterranean and Central Europe, the intersection of many different cultural practices, this particular environment created Botha eclectic temperament.
  • His modernism and postmodernism double impact under a variety of eclectic cultural approach taken in the absorption of Western culture, they also demonstrate sensitivity to local culture and history.
  • Studied  and practised new rationalism, and
  • Impressed by Le Corbusier and  studied and Kang Le Corbusier’s architectural Cubism prototype ideas


  • Switzerland
    • Single-family dwellings in Canton Ticino, Switzerland  ( 1965)
    • Junior High School in Morbio Inferiore, Switzerland
    • Library of the Capuchin Monastery in Lugano
    • UBS Bank, Basel
    • National sports centre, Tenero
  • Japan
    • Watari-um Art Gallery, Tokyo
  • United States
    • Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco,
  • Israel
    • Cymbalista synagogue and Jewish cultural centre, Tel Aviv
  • Italy
    • New casino at Capione d’Italia
  • Botta tried to artificial means or change the situation in a certain balance in order to seek a new balance.


  • Therefore, with the square and circle formation of the pure geometric forms is the basic elements of his architecture.
  • He show respect for topographical conditions and regional sensibilities and his designs generally emphasize craftsmanship and geometric order. Because he attempts to reconcile traditional architectural symbolism with the aesthetic rules of the Modern Movement
  • His design elements are:
    • Modernism
    • Symbolism
    • Regionalism
    • Culture
    • Light
    • Vernacular material
    • Diagonal axis
    • Spaces of poetry
    • Geometry
    • Revive an old Transformation
    • Topography
    • Social environment

He believes that architecture acts as a mirror of its time

Wellness centre – Berg Oase, Arosa , Switzerland, 2003-2006:

Project: 2003
Commissioned by:  Grand Hotel , Tschuggen
Area : 5,300 m²
Volume :  27,000 m³

  • The concept of the value of feeling good and taking care of yourself and of others has remained unchanged since the days of ancient philosophy. Today it is backed up by new technologies that offer us a range of different services: from the sauna to different types of massaging tubs. The aim of all this is to create a setting of great emotional content focusing on the common theme of water. 
  • Nestled in a basin at the foot of the Weisshorn mountain in the Swiss Alps is the Berg Oase wellness centre – a health spa linked to the five-star luxury Tschuggen Grand Hotel in the resort village of Arosa.

Design concept:

We imagined to build without building, to assert the presence of the new through the emergent parts  and to leave interred the great volume with the functional program. The cover of the hypogeal spaces becomes a stage marked by geometric vegetal presences that rouse the visitor curiosity. This particular context therefore suggested us an intriguing solution, of visual impact and, above all, of great respect for the surrounding village. The great volume disappears into the earth; only the vegetal and, at the same time, mechanical “antennas” emerge, marking the recreational and collective character of the structure.

The inner space appears as a terraced continuum with the slope to limit the excavation works

The different areas of Berg Oase are characterized by their interrelation and by their privileged relationship with the environment through technological trees that guarantee natural light and an extraordinary sight towards the landscape as well as becoming signals of the internal life at night through the artificial lighting that gives to the whole resort a magic atmosphere. The external spaces (sauna, solarium, swimming pool) are reachable directly from the swimming pools and set on an attractive terracing, dipped into nature.

The external spaces (sauna, solarium, swimming pool) are reachable directly from the swimming pools and set on a attractive terracing, dipped into nature. The new structure is accessible through a glass walkway from the existing hotel as well as (for the external visitors) from the entrance level to the hotel. The new building, beyond the “unbuilt space” of the “leaves”, resolves the relationship with the existing hotel and the ground through a great wall in natural stone. The external public space is therefore redesigned in order to create a cosy atmosphere and to solve the car parks problem thus discreetly integrated in the plan.


  • The ground floor    houses most of the fitness facilities, part of the technical area and the wardrobe for external users who have direct access to this floor.
  • The first floor accommodates the technical areas and the treatment spaces: swimming pool technical area, cabins for body treatment and beauty cabins, solarium, hairdresser, shop, toilette, depots.
  • On the second floor  are located the connection glass bridge between the Tschuggen Hotel and the wellness centre, the reception, the staff spaces, the wardrobes for the users, the toilettes, and the “sauna world” with relax area.
  • The third floor houses the “water world” with swimming pool to swim and relax, the toilettes, the relax area, depots.


  • The building is made of a combination of Canadian Maple and duke white granite, used to clad the interior walls, floors (including the bridge floor), showers and pool, and also for the stairway.
  • Marble and granite treated stone to protect it from water and chlorine.
  • Care was taken to use natural minerals rather than synthetic chemicals for this process as the granite was to be used in a health and wellness environment. The stone also helps to create an atmosphere that combines the sanctity of a temple and that of a mountain cave.
  • Canadian maple triangular skylights provide the optimum level of acoustics  which mute interior noise and encourage quiet and a feeling of calm.

Botta’s architectural language:

  • Classical symmetrical layout,
  • Simple geometric shape,
  • Closed and thick walls,
  • skylight.


As an architect of Post Modern Classicism ,he  has  give a lot to learn and the way he puts his philosophies into design giving it a very modern , different  and contemporary look . He shows the method to use vernacular means to give a contemporary look.


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